Although the stairs leading up to the front door of our vacation rental are a little obnoxious (there are 100-150 of them), I was pleased that I wouldn’t have trouble finding a place to work-out while we were in Guanajuato. At home, I normally jog at least 5 days of week and do a few supplementary activities to keep myself fit, but when we travel, I never know what kind of space or work-out facilities will be available. I figured in Guanajuato, I’d be able to just jog up and down some stairs to stay in shape, but finding the right stairs to run has proven harder than I would’ve thought.
About two “streets” to our north of where we live, the area gets a little dicey. There are men standing around all day and all night sort of loitering and looking for trouble. After going for water in this area for a few days in a row, we decided that it just wasn’t safe. All walking and jogging in that direction was off limits.
But there are plenty of stairs in Guanajuato. I wasn’t worried. I figured I would just run up and down the staircases right outside our door.
On Friday morning, I put together my security gear: some keys and my pepper spray and told John I would be back in 15 minutes to check-in. He’d warned me that there were police chasing after someone on the stairs when he went to take out the trash. I wouldn’t go that way unless it seemed safe. I unlocked the door and ran down the stairs to my right. Down, down down…I arrived at a corner and looked down. There were two lovers actively caressing and fondling each other at the bottom. Although I would just walk past them if I were on my way somewhere, I felt like I might be imposing if I ran past them four or five times. Instead, I turned and ran back up to our door.
I decided this time, I would take a different set of stairs, also leading downward. This was where John had seen the police that morning. Down I went, but halfway to the bottom was a fellow that I recognized from the area with all the loitering men on the hill up above our rental. Running past him once wouldn’t be a big deal, but twice, three times, or four times would probably set off his radar. I didn’t want these men following me home because they were specifically looking for foreigners, according to a man I’d spoken with at a vegetable stand. So again, I turned and ran back up the stairs determined to find a set of stairs that I could run every day.
Back at the entrance to our patio, there were still two more staircases that I could jog up and down without having to go too far from home.
Up I went. I couldn’t continue in this direction because the neighborhood got dangerous, but I turned at the top of the stairs to run back down, figuring I would just go up and down the dozen or so stairs for twenty minutes. As I turned, a dog that had been curled up sleeping by a doorway up the sidewalk, snarled at me, got up and then ran toward me menacingly. Mexican dogs come in all shapes, and sizes, and with a variety of different health problems including mange and occasionally rabies. I had my pepper spray and I clicked it on, but didn’t want to use it on a dog. I continued down the stairs, the dog barking and snarling behind me, but I didn’t look back. I felt like looking back would have provoked the dog to come after me. I listened for the sound of it’s paws on the stairs, but it didn’t follow me. It stayed at the top and barked at me until I was out of sight. I must’ve invaded it’s territory.
But that was the end of my jogging for the day. The ferocious dog and the loitering criminals and lovers were enough to deter me from trying to use the stairs for my exercise.
I gave up on jogging and went inside and attached a portable resistance training system to a large, heavy awning made of metal with clay shingles out in a little courtyard on our vacation rental property. The awning hung over our washing machine. I wrapped the resistance bands around the metal frame according to the little drawings in the instruction manual and proceeded to pull the whole awning down with a heavy crash, sending clay shingles flying and denting the washing machine.
And that was that.